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Survey finds voters prefer investing Arizona's massive surplus over cutting taxes

Rather than cut taxes, most likely Arizona voters would prefer if state lawmakers used a $5.3 billion surplus to invest in education, public safety and infrastructure, according to a recent survey conducted by the Center for the Future of Arizona. 

The survey results, released Wednesday, are the latest topic covered as part of the Arizona Voters’ Agenda, a list of issues that a majority of voters strongly support ahead of the midterm elections.

The election survey results are timely, however, given the ongoing budget debate at the Arizona Capitol — a debate centered around what to do with the massive surplus in revenues.

Sybil Francis, the head of the Center for the Future of Arizona, said the survey should be an “aha moment” for lawmakers.

“We had agreement on investing the surplus of 70% of Republicans, 95% of Democrats and 93% of independents and non-affiliated voters,” Francis said. “Voters believe that the tax burden is fair and low, and they prefer investing surplus in critical infrastructure and education over cutting taxes.”

Overall, 82% of likely voters agreed that, instead of cutting taxes, the state should make strategic investments.

Yet the current spending plan floated by House and Senate Republican leaders includes more than $1 billion in tax cuts over the next three years.

Voters were also concerned with job creation and inflation.

“Top of mind for likely voters is they really want candidates and elected leaders to focus on supporting Arizona's long term economic growth and express concerns about rising costs, housing, affordability and gas prices,” Francis said.

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.